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5 Easy Steps to Cut the Cable Cord

Our family decided to cut the cord last year and cancel our cable TV subscription. We were spending over $180 a month on our “Triple Play Package” for phone, internet, and cable TV.  Cable TV deals appear to be a steal in the promotion. However, we all know they double in price once all the extras, fees and taxes are factored in.

At the time, our family severely needed to eliminate expenses. My wife and I  spent hours reviewing the budget. After realizing our cable TV provider collected over $2100 a year from our cable TV habit, cutting the cable cord became our top priority.

The next few days were spent researching how to watch TV without cable. Within a week, a plan was devised and we ended our cable subscription.  The solution we crafted allows watching the shows we’ve always watched, only at half the cost.

Follow these steps to design your family’s own plan to cut the cord:

1. Have the Right Internet Connection

A quality internet connection is the key to cutting the cord.  While streaming standard definition video is possible with as little as a 2 Mbps internet connection, I recommend a speed of at least 10 Mbps for each simultaneous HD video stream.

For example, if you have 2 TVs and a child that likes to watch shows on a tablet, then you would want 30 Mbps. Here is a great resource to find a new internet service provider.

2. Purchase a TV antenna.

Modern TVs made in the last 7 years all have digital tuners allowing for the reception of digital TV signals using an antenna.  The picture looks amazing and displays in crystal clear high definition.

If possible I recommend an outdoor antenna, as you will get better reception and more TV channels. For information on the antenna, we ultimately went with, check out my review of the Mohu Sky.

If you feel more comfortable using an indoor antenna, the Mohu Curve is also a solid choice. If you want to know more, check out my in-depth article on choosing a TV antenna.

3. Sign up for Streaming Subscriptions

Next, you will need a content provider for movies and TV shows. There are several options to choose from.  Luckily, free trials are frequently (if not always) available with each service. They all have their different strengths; therefore this is ultimately a personal preference.

Popular choices are:

4. Find a Streaming Device

Image Credit: Roku Inc.

Unless the family is happy huddling around a tablet or computer screen, a device to stream content to the TV will be required. There are a number of options, but there may already be a device with this capability in the home.

Be sure the device supports the streaming services your family prefers.  Here are device options to examine:

  • Blu-ray and DVD players
  • Gaming Consoles: Wii, PlayStation (3&4), Xbox (360/One)
  • Smart TVs
  • Over the Top Streaming Devices: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast

Examine devices already owned for streaming capability before purchasing one.  Our family chose Apple TV due to Airplay, which allows casting content from an iPad or iPhone to the television.  However, Roku 3 is a highly rated option for non-Apple households.

5. Replace the Landline

A simple solution to replacing the landline phone is simple using cell phones. If cell service is unreliable in the home, there are numerous “voice over IP technologies” (VOIP) that allow using an existing internet connection for a phone line.

Our family decided on using our cell phones, but the following solutions are also home phone alternatives:

Total Savings from Cutting The Cord

Our final solution eventually cost $100 up front, and $70-$80 a month for internet access and TV content.  Ultimately, we saved over $1000 a year, and had the pleasant surprise of extra time in our day.

Initially, we didn’t understand where the free time originated. Eventually, we realized those extra hours every week were the ones wasted on commercial watching and surfing over 200 channels.

There are few decisions in life that provide both time and money, but we found cutting the cord on cable TV afforded us both.

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If this article did not answer your specific question, check out the Cord Cutting Guide. It provides links to the most important articles in our over 200 pages of content to help you ditch pay TV.

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Categories: Guides
Dennis Restauro :Dennis is the founder of Grounded Reason. He also hosts the Grounded Reason Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: Follow Dennis on Twitter

View Comments (5)

  • I tried the link for ispprovidersinmyarea.com and after giving them the zip code/address they give choices like Comcast that aren't available in the area. Any other good resources to pick an ISP?

  • Thank you for the step by step. We have/want to cut the cord and it is difficult to commit because we were unsure what we would lose. This helps a lot!!!

  • Dennis,

    I have a question on Hulu & Netflix. I have found the basic terms online, but I want to know if they are actually true. So I have a Hulu acct & my sister Netflix. I have her Netflix log in information and she has my Hulu. She has 2 tv's and I have 2 tv's that they are linked to. How many devices at a time can I stream Netflix & Hulu. I read online that Netflix will only allow 2 at a time, and Hulu one. I am not sure how true it is. I have a bunch of other channels on my Roku's so I don't think it will be an issue as I don't know when she is streaming as we live a few towns away. Last night while my husband was on Hulu it never wanted to load one of the shows. I am now wondering if it was because my my sister was using Hulu on one of her tv's. I am now wondering if I made a mistake by us exchanging. Both of our houses the downstairs tv is the main and upstairs just gets used from time to time. Do either Hulu or Netflix offer for a couple bucks more a month unlimited devices or something like 4 devices to be streaming at a time? It might be worth it for each my sister and I to pa an extra couple of bucks a month so we get access to both and don't have to worry if the other is currently watching one or the other.

    • Those numbers are valid. I try to avoid sharing account information because they could refuse service to you and it causes the issues you describe. I tend to manage with the available streams, but if you want more then another account would have to be registered.